Wednesday Morning: 24 Apr 2019 – Mark 2:1-17 ~ the authority to forgive sins

Wednesday Morning

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen

Opening (A Collect for Grace – Wednesday)

O Lord, our heavenly Father, almighty and everlasting God, you have brought us safely to the beginning of this day: Defend us by your mighty power, that we may not fall into sin nor run into any danger; and that guided by your Spirit, we may do what is righteous in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
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Morning Reading – Mark 2:1-17 (NLT)

Jesus Heals a Paralyzed Man

When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”

But some of the teachers of religious law who were sitting there thought to themselves, “What is he saying? This is blasphemy! Only God can forgive sins!”

Jesus knew immediately what they were thinking, so he asked them, “Why do you question this in your hearts? Is it easier to say to the paralyzed man ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or ‘Stand up, pick up your mat, and walk’? So I will prove to you that the Son of Man has the authority on earth to forgive sins.” Then Jesus turned to the paralyzed man and said, “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home!”

And the man jumped up, grabbed his mat, and walked out through the stunned onlookers. They were all amazed and praised God, exclaiming, “We’ve never seen anything like this before!”

Jesus Calls Levi (Matthew)

Then Jesus went out to the lakeshore again and taught the crowds that were coming to him. As he walked along, he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at his tax collector’s booth. “Follow me and be my disciple,” Jesus said to him. So Levi got up and followed him.

Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?”

When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”
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Morning Reflection:

Friends bring friends to Jesus

Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man,
“My child, your sins are forgiven.”
– Mark 2:5

In today’s reading, the point of contention is Jesus’ authority to forgive sins, and his association with sinners in order to accomplish that very purpose. In both stories, friends bring friends to Jesus.

A few things stand out:

+ The Friends: They were genuinely concerned about their paralyzed comrade and took extraordinary steps to take him to Jesus. They acted boldly out of compassion and faith.

+ The Paralytic: He too acted in faith in response to Jesus’ command – “Stand up, pick up your mat, and go home.” He did all three and amazed everyone.

+ Jesus: He demonstrated his Kingdom authority as the “Son of Man” to forgive sin through an act of physical healing. Only God can heal and forgive sin. Jesus chose to do what his onlookers considered harder, in order to show that He could also do what they considered easier.

+ Matthew: He too wanted his friends – sinners who were considered social outcasts – to meet Jesus. And Jesus’ acceptance of the dinner invitation was an offer of peace, trust, friendship and forgiveness. Jesus was simply fulfilling his mission.

Jesus told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do.
I have come to call not those who think they are righteous,
but those who know they are sinners.”
– Mark 2:17

Questions for consideration:

  • Have you ever had a friend bring you to Jesus for healing or forgiveness? What were the circumstances? Please explain.
  • Do you have a friend who needs Jesus in his/her life? What would it take to connect him/her with Jesus? Please explain.
  • What is your relationship with people living in sin? Does your relationship tacitly approve or disapprove of their lifestyle? How can you help them recognize their need for a fresh start with Jesus? Please explain.

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Morning Prayer:

Prayer for the families and loved ones of those being persecuted:

Heavenly Father: Comfort the families that are affected by the persecution of their loves ones. Open up safe channels and opportunities for them to support and/or visit those who are imprisoned, or otherwise detained. Empower them by your Spirit to remain faithful to you and to their loved ones, even as they wait patiently for deliverance and release. I ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

My prayer:

Lord Jesus: Thank you for staying with me through faith and unbelief, strength and weakness, sickness and health. In you I trust for healing and forgiveness. Give me the humility to readily admit my need, and the faith to live out your directions for my life. Give me your heart for the sick and broken people around me. And give me the courage to overcome all obstacles in bringing them to you. I ask this in your name, and for the Father’s glory. Amen.
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“Forgiven” – Crowder

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Closing:

May the peace of the Lord Christ go with you, wherever He may send you. May He guide you through the wilderness, and protect you through the storm. May He bring you home rejoicing at the wonders He has shown you. May He bring you home rejoicing once again into our doors.

+ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen



Categories: Life in Christ

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